Even in the remote world, most Avatar led rooms are still 60 minutes so playing a 90 minute one was already an attraction. The story/theme might not be overly original (deadly plague and we have to find the antidote) but the theming of the rooms was on point throughout each section and looked great.
Dani was our Avatar and handled the game superbly and was a lot of fun to play with. The video was handled by Zoom and was clear and stable throughout. The implementation of some of the puzzles in Telescape is one of the best I’ve seen in nearly 170 online games. It’s not an easy game though, certainly, in the last section you are heavily advised to make notes and track what you are doing, it will save you precious time and realistically this may have cost us the win. We were a team of 4 experienced online players and we failed with literally seconds to go at the very last puzzle and yet I’m not sure which part really slowed us down.
The Telescape interface is also (to my mind) the games biggest weakness. Telescape is an incredibly cooperative tool but where it lets multiple people work on the same puzzle but this then means you have multiple people trying to make changes. I’ve seen near arguments sprout from this. A common puzzle in Telescape is the jigsaw, but everyone wants to solve it, and realistically only 1 or 2 can and it quickly comes down to two people jostling for control over a puzzle piece. Telescape has quickly carved out an important place for itself in the online puzzle world, but there is a balance to be maintained when in an Avatar led room.
There are some puzzles in this game that (IMHO) didn’t need to be on Telescape. They could have been done by the remote hands of the Avatar under our direction as we had discovered all of the information necessary to solve this particular puzzle. Ultimately that would have been my preference, as I’ve said elsewhere, I want to play the room, not the interface. If I want to play a point-and-click game I’ll get my iPad out.
Another issue I had with the room were the pop culture references, now I think I was the only person who spotted them. I saw a name here, a chemical there, etc. I don’t mind Easter eggs in games but this broke the immersion for me to a degree but I think I was the only person. It certainly wasn’t as immersion-breaking as playing the Back to the Future theme in a Victorian time travel game as happened a while ago.
That last section may come across as overly negative but this game still has an awful lot of positive points in its favour. I had a lot of fun here and rated it highly and is well worth your time but take notes!